This week, as the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces an array of accusations about actions from his youth, the country is discovering one long-standing tradition at his high school beloved by many of his fellow East Coasters: Beach Week. Just as school lets out for the summer, teens escape to beach houses up and down the mid-Atlantic to hang out and party before they part ways and depart for college. For decades, Beach Week has been an annual rite of passage for mostly suburban upper-middle-class high-schoolers: By one estimate, about half of graduates at some schools attend.
But the kids aren’t mostly reading Plato by the ocean during the excursion—Beach Week is frequently a time of out-of-control parties, binge drinking, and sex. According to a 1996 study in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, three-quarters of female Beach Week attendees reported being drunk every day. Nearly half of the girls surveyed reported having sex while they were there, and 86 percent of the girls who did were drunk at the time. The teens that descend upon idyllic beach towns often cause damage to rental properties and mayhem in local neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, Julie Swetnick alleged that Kavanaugh was present at a Beach Week party in the 1980s where she was gang-raped, an accusation that he denied as a “farce” in a congressional hearing on Thursday. And in a calendar the judge released that he claims exonerates him from charges of sexual assault levied by Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh scribbled “BEACH WEEK” in big all-caps letters for a week in early June of 1982.